Wilkes University

Tyler Derby

Photo of TylerBuilding A Future In Business

From his family’s construction company to a pharmaceutical giant, Tyler Derby thrives on business.

As a kid, Tyler Derby liked to tag along when his dad went to work at the family’s construction company. Now the senior from Coopersburg, Pa., will graduate with a double major in management and marketing, as well as internship experience at a worldwide pharmaceutical firm on his résumé.

Derby chose Wilkes because of its NCAA Division III football program. While playing, he learned time management, balancing classwork, training, practice and extracurricular activities. Then injuries forced him to give up the game. “I knew 40-year-old Tyler would thank 21-year-old Tyler.” 

His competitive drive still comes into play in classes and cocurricular activities. As a freshman, Derby was required to start a business from the ground up. His team’s sale of customizable Wilkes windbreakers was backed by market research and a business plan. “That was very cool. Essentially, you’re being thrown into the fire. If you can’t take the heat, business is not for you.”

He works with Wilkes’ Enactus team, which competes in creating entrepreneurial community development projects. Presenting those projects at regional and national competitions enhances presentation skills and provides networking opportunities that could lead to internships, interviews or even job offers. 

Derby also serves on the student advisory board of the Jay S. Sidhu School of Business and Leadership, impacting day-to-day operations from a student perspective. 

Associate Professor Jennifer Edmonds met Derby when he visited campus for VIP Day and the pair formed a fast bond. As his mentor, Edmonds advised her student on routine matters like course schedules. By senior year, their talks turned to graduate school and career plans.

“I try to encourage critical thinking and data-driving decision making,” says Edmonds. “I am always pointing students to resources to help them formulate the rationale to make decisions on their own, rather than just telling them what to do.”

For Derby, his mentor’s guidance has been invaluable. “She challenged me to do my own thing. She allowed me to go places I didn’t know I was going to go.” As Derby weighs his career options, he promises to keep his mentor — now friend — updated. “We will 100 percent stay in touch after graduation.”

Derby rose to the challenge, adding value to his résumé with a summer internship at Pfizer Inc. He was one of 300 interns chosen from 10,000 applicants. Derby composed weekly email updates, streamlined training and compiled a report shared with Pfizer CEO Ian Read. The experience boosted Derby’s confidence, proving that students from Wilkes can hold their own against students from larger schools.

“We can compete anywhere.”

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